It is evident that stress is an inevitable part of life. How you manage it can determine your day, your health, your relationships and your success; either it takes charge of your life, or you do. Leonard Buhler, who has had about 30 years of experience in the business world, teaches stress management seminars and shares a few valuable tips with us. It's time to control the stress in your life�and reap the many benefits.
What is stress?
According to Webster's Dictionary, stress is a constraining force or influence. Stress is the way our bodies respond to perceived or actual danger. It is not the cause , but the effect of an event. You can divide stress into two categories:
Problem: A problem is something you can solve. You have a choice of whether you want to solve that problem or not and you can change your attitude towards that problem.
Fact of life: A fact of life is something you can't do anything about. We must constantly recognize the facts of life, such as natural disasters, sickness and the past, accept them and live with them.
When you can divide your stress into the two different categories, you are able to decide how to handle them in a proactive way. If the stressful thing is a problem, then acknowledge it as a problem and take the necessary steps towards solving that problem or handling the predicament. If what's stressing you is a fact of life, then acknowledge that you cannot solve the stress and accept it. This will change your outlook and in turn alleviate the stress.
Stress carrying capacity
Everyone's capacity to carry stress is different, and knowing your maximum capacity is important. Realize what adds to your capacity and what takes away from it. For example, having an argument with your wife in the morning may take up 30% of your stress capacity that day, whereas having a quality conversation with her over breakfast can have the directly opposite effect. Her encouragement and faith in you can add much to your stress carrying capacity. Everyone's capacity is expandable; figure out what adds to your capacity and exercise those things. It is very much like working out�the more you do it, the more you will build muscle and strength. When you exercise things that add to your capacity, the larger your stress carrying capacity will be.
It is important to face the truth in life and then take everything one step at a time. Here are a few suggestions:
1. Document the facts of your life. How much money have you lost? What has changed? Which relationships are in trouble? You cannot change the facts of life so they are not the problem. You need to accept the things you cannot change.
2. Offload responsibilities until you are living within your stress limit. If the things on your plate surpass your stress capacity, take them out of your life until you are able to carry them.
3. Get help or advice where needed. Your friends and family are incredible assets to you. Share the stress load with people you trust. Don't be afraid to ask them for advice when you need it.
4. Create vision. Look at the present from the future. Ask yourself what changes you need to make or what steps you need to take in order to paint your vision.
5. Protect what remains. Get prospective on life and appreciate what you have�the relationships, net assets, skills, virtues. Spend time with your friends and family and cherish these relationships.
Stress may seem like a bad thing, but once you've taken control of it, there are many opportunities for growth. You even begin to appreciate life and have a positive outlook on problems. Manage it, handle it, battle it, conquer it, rule over it�whatever it is that you decide to do with stress, don't wait until tomorrow to start.
Written by Leonard Buhler